Making Facebook work harder for you… for free
Your Facebook business page can be an incredibly effective tool for marketing your business, and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Despite all the technical talk of algorithms and the ever-stronger push to pay to promote your posts, there are a number of simple techniques you can implement right now (for free!) to boost the reach of your posts and build engagement with your brand.
The complication with Facebook Pages is that your posts won’t necessarily be shown to every person who has liked or followed your page. Facebook tries to determine which content is the most relevant to each individual user by applying an algorithm to posts in an attempt to work out which content the user will most want to see. The specifics of the algorithm that determines how many news feeds your posts show up in are a little complicated, but all you really need to know about it is, quite simply: the more your followers interact with your page (by liking, commenting on or sharing your posts), the more of your posts your followers will see.
So how can you maximise your followers’ engagement with your posts?
Use images in your posts
Using high quality, relevant, eye-catching images in your posts can be the difference between a follower scrolling right past your post or pausing to read it (and, if you’re lucky, engage with it). Posts with images take up much more room in the news feed than plain text or link posts and don’t cost you a cent more for the privilege (not like paying for ad space in a newspaper).
A study conducted by HubSpot found that Facebook posts using photos received 53% more likes and 104% more comments than the average post. This is the kind of engagement which will increase the exposure your future posts get, so get creative and make the statistics work for you.
The same study found that if they included a photo when sharing a link in a post, they received 84% more link clicks than if they shared the link on its own. It’s a good idea to leverage your Facebook audience and your website audience by linking them to each other where possible; just remember to increase your visibility by including a picture and drive increased traffic to both.
The Facebook algorithm weights comments higher than likes, so it’s in your best interest to encourage your followers to comment on your posts as much as possible; the more they comment, the more of your posts will be seen! Ask your followers questions which aren’t too detailed and don’t require much thought. A huge number of Facebook users access the site primarily through mobile devices, which means they are likely to be “on the go” when they see your post (and using those pesky touch-screen keyboards); in this case, less is more. Go for closed questions rather than open.
If it is appropriate for your business and your brand, competitions are another great way to build engagement. Caption contests on photos or “like and share” competitions for prizes can build your page’s audience and will contribute to weighting your posts for visibility in as many news feeds as possible.
Check your timing
Make the timing of your posts work for you. You can approach this from a general perspective, tailor it specifically to your page’s followers, or incorporate both into your marketing plan.
Speaking generally, users over a number of different industries are more likely to interact with posts at the end of the week (Thursday and Friday). You don’t have to rely on general data, though; you can also be very specific with tailoring your timing. Take the time to review the data you can access through the “Insights” section of your page, and make a point of timing your posts for when the largest numbers of your followers are on. This can be particularly useful if you have a specific audience for your product, service or brand; the best times to capture the attention of stay-at-home parents are unlikely to be the best times to target young adults, for example.
Be mindful of your brand
Keep the voice, tone and feel of your brand in mind when making posts to your business page. A study found that posts using emoticons can increase comments by 33%; while using emoticons may not be appropriate, depending on your individual business, it shows that users engage more with posts that have a personal brand they feel they can relate to. Give your followers a human element to your posts to engage with. For more information on building your personal brand, refer to our recent post Personality Branding - The Third Brand Your Business Needs.
You have access to very specific statistics through the “Insights” section of your page. Take the time to review this data; look at which of your posts had the biggest reach or engagement and try to work out why this was. Exactly how YOUR followers will best engage with YOUR business might differ from more general statistics, but you have all the data you need to work this out and capitalise on it right at your fingertips.